Freeze Frame

Riata Buckle Champ Douglas Rich Breaks Down Winning Run
"The nerves add to the thrill."
Douglas Rich heeling on palomino Time Toget Wreckless at the 2023 Riata Buckle Open
Douglas Rich heeling in the short round of the 2023 Riata Buckle Open | Photo by Andersen/CBarC Photography

Short round, 2023 Riata Buckle Open

TIME: 5.60 seconds
AVERAGE: 34.8 seconds on five head

PAYOUT: $33,660

a) STEER: That steer was slower and hung on the end of the rope pretty good.

b) HORSE POSITION: I got tighter than I had been because of how that steer hung, so for me to feel like I was getting him backed off, I’m sort of leaning back and creating the separation with my body. That was a safety measure, really, because that horse will stop on his own and I should have known that.

c) REIN CONTACT: I have contact on the reins to feel like I was getting backed off. But like I said before, it wasn’t really necessary because that horse read it.

d) LOOP: That horse stopped hard as soon as I put it down. In the back of my mind, if that horse didn’t read it like he did, I’d either heel a front leg or lose a leg. When I put it down, he wasn’t overrunning it.

e) SLACK: I held my slack up to be sure to keep two feet. That high slack will really ensure I don’t mess up.

f) SADDLE HORN: That horse is stopping hard. The saddle horn is coming up making it so easy to dally on.

g) BODY POSITION: I stayed more square and in my saddle to help finish the run. I didn’t have to be up pushing him—I sat down as I was bringing it, and he read it and stopped. Normally, I’d be up more off my pockets. That horse liked being drove. He was the ‘Push your hand down and push the whole time’ kind. He wasn’t going to overrun the run to make you have to pick up on the bridle reins. When you threw, it was over. He was strong to the horn. He had a really, really good feel.

h) MENTAL: The first couple, it was just a normal roping, not a show deal, so it didn’t matter how it looked. I was just worried about catching. The first year they had it, it was just catch five steers clean. On this last one, I wanted to not mess up right there. There’s always a little bit of nerves. The nerves add to the thrill.

i) HORSE: This is Time Toget Wreckless, a Hickory Holly Time 5-year-old owned by Melissa Fischer and trained by Andy Holcomb. He was easy and push-style, and made my job just to heel.

— TRJ —

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